Friday the 14th of October 2022, saw over 600 individuals from the private, public and social sector come together for the first time since 2019 at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast, to honour and celebrate the achievements of the social economy sector in Northern Ireland. On the 10th Anniversary of Social Enterprise NI Awards, a record-breaking number of attendees was reached since the event’s formation.
Like any other sector, times are challenging, and organisations are under immense pressure to control costs and generate income to simply, survive. This is no different for social enterprise organisations however, many of the services or products they provide either directly or indirectly support some of the most vulnerable within the community and are therefore vital. Despite this, the sector continues to grow and thrive which was apparent from the of organisations, teams and leaders shortlisted and awarded at the event.
The evening brought a strong sense of hope and togetherness as well as a reminder of how important the sector is to Northern Ireland and beyond. Economy Minister Gordon Lyons thanked the sector for their contribution:
“I am pleased to be associated with Social Enterprise NI’s Awards which recognises both the sector's achievements and resilience. I welcome and value the impact social enterprises have on the recovery and growth of the Northern Ireland economy, now and in the future”
With a room full of over 600+ social entrepreneurs local enterprise centre, Enterprise North West won the Social Enterprise of the Year Highly Commended Award. Brian O’Neill, Director of Development and Enterprise of Enterprise North West said:
“We are very lucky to have the brill team that we have, and this award is a testament to all the hard work they do to help local businesses & social enterprises in partnership with other organisations across the North West”
Speaking about the success of the event, Colin Jess, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise NI said:
“The Social Enterprise NI Awards is a time to take a moment to recognise, commend, and promote the individuals and businesses creating positive change and social impact within Northern Ireland. I believe we achieved just that at our celebratory event last week. We now continue our work to support and represent social enterprises to ensure their voice is heard at all levels of business and with decision makers all year round.”